Manchester Victoria stabbing: Terror probe launched by police as home searched
Police officers are now searching an address in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, where the 25-year-old suspect is believed to live
The Manchester Victoria station stabbing that left three people injured is being treated as a terror probe, police have confirmed.
Commuters screamed as a man allegedly knifed a couple and a British Transport Police (BTP) officer at the busy station last night.
A Snapchat video appeared to show the suspect shouting “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is most great”, as he was surrounded by cops.
Today, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) told a media briefing that senior officers were treating the incident as a ‘terror investigation’.
They are now working to get “the full facts of what happened”.
The force also said that officers were searching an address in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, in relation to the probe, where the 25-year-old suspect is believed to have most recently been living.
“Just before 9pm the British Transport Police officers at Victoria Train Station responded to a man armed with a knife and swiftly detained him,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters this morning.
“The officers acted with incredible bravery in tackling the armed attacker at the busy Metrolink station and ensured he was immediately detained. He remains in custody here in Manchester.”
He added: “We are treating this as a terrorist investigation which is being led by counter terrorism officers with support from Greater Manchester Police.
“They were working throughout the night to piece together the details of what happened and to identify the man who was arrested.
“This detailed work will continue and we are currently searching an address in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester which is believed to be where the man had most recently been living.
“Our work will continue to ensure we get to the full facts of what happened and why it took place.”
Police said the wounded couple were still being treated in hospital for their “serious” injuries following the “horrific” New Year’s Eve attack.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson told the briefing that the pair, in their 50s, suffered multiple stab wounds in the “frenzied” attack.
The “brave” BTP officer, who is in his 30s and was stabbed in the shoulder, was also hospitalised but has since been released.
Mr Jackson added: “We believe we have identified the man in custody.
“In fact we are currently searching an address in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, we commenced that in the last 30 to 40 minutes.
“We know the attacker arrived at the location and soon after he attacked two people, a man and a woman, who have suffered very serious injuries. Whilst serious thankfully these are not life threatening.”
The couple are expected to remain in hospital for some time, he said.
He continued: “There is wide reporting in the press about what the attacker allegedly said during the incident and because of this we want to be clear, we are treating this as a terrorism investigation.
“However it’s really important to stress we are retaining an open mind in relation to the motivation for this attack.
“We have nothing to suggest at this time others are involved.”
Ast Chf Const Jackson told the briefing that police recovered two knives but do not yet know if both were used in the attack.
Witnesses had earlier described how “hero” officers ran through the station and hurled themselves at the suspect without hesitation.
Cops raced over as horrified commuters heard a “bloodcurdling scream” and a man was allegedly spotted with a 12-inch blade.
Determined to protect the public, officers reportedly used a Taser and pepper spray before “six or seven” of them ‘jumped’ on the suspect.
They are then said to have held him down on the ground.
One shocked witness, called Bekky, told Mirror Online last night: “I’m in awe of the BTP, as soon as I heard the screaming they were running to the scene to protect everyone.
“They are heroes.”
Another witness described how police ‘came towards’ the suspect.
“At one point one of the police officers fired the Taser but it missed him,” recalled Sam Clack, who had been waiting for a tram home.
“Then he got pepper sprayed and Tasered and he went to the ground.”
Counter-terror police were today continuing to question the suspect, who is being held on suspicion of attempted murder.
BTP Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “I am incredibly proud of the four officers who were immediately on scene last night, detaining a man who was wielding a knife.
“They were fearless, running towards danger and preventing further harm coming to passengers.
“Unfortunately however, one of our police officers suffered a stab injury to their shoulder and we’re all relieved that this is not more serious.
“It is good news that he has now been discharged from hospital, we are all wishing him a speedy recovery.”
GMP had earlier described the ‘stabbed’ couple’s injuries.
The force said the woman had suffered injuries to her face and abdomen, while the man sustained injuries to his abdomen.
A spokesman added: “The police sergeant… was taken to hospital with a stab wound to his shoulder following the attack at the station.
“Within minutes, a man was arrested near to Metrolink platforms A and B on suspicion of attempted murder.”
Victoria station is situated next to Manchester Arena, where suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people on May 22.
Chf Const Hopkins said: “I know that the events last night will have affected many people and caused concern.
“That the incident happened so close to the scene of the terrorist attack on 22 May 2017 makes it even more dreadful.”
GMP had earlier said there would be a greater police presence around the station today, but that there was no increased threat to people’s safety.
This morning, Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted about the attack, offering her thoughts to the injured couple and BTP officer.
Mrs May wrote: “My thoughts are with those who were injured in the suspected terrorist attack in Manchester last night.
“I thank the emergency services for their courageous response.”
British Transport Police have asked the public to remain “vigilant” and to report any concerns by texting them discreetly on 61016 or by calling0800 40 50 40.
Great Manchester Police have asked anyone with footage to send it to FIB@gmp.police.uk, and anyone with any information that may assist the investigation to contact them on0161 856 3400.